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Preview — We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
We Need to Talk About Kevin
The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry
Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to co...more
First of all, I consider this to be truly a great work of literature, not simply "fiction". As a great writer of my native language said: "The real story is on the unwritten pages"; that is, it is the gaps, the pauses and the undercurrents between the characters (which the reader is forced to complete or imagine) which is the mark of great literature. This is one hundred percent correct as far ...more
And that is underselling it.
Suffice for now to say, you might not enjoy this if:
- You believe that a lack of maternal instinct or feeling is a character flaw or a moral failing;
- You com ...more
From the first page I was SO irritated by the writing. I'll bet that the first purchase Ms. Shriver made after finding a publisher for this book was a new thesaurus. I'm positive that hers was absolutely worn out. It was like, "Hi! Let's see how fancy we can sound!" Especially for a boo ...more
Maybe it's because I'm not a mother and I did find it believable that Eva doesn't love her son completely.
Maybe it's because I enjoy the big words that were used in the letters and found it believable that she would write this way.
Maybe I'm a sucker for good endings and this one ended with a bang.
I think the writing was superb and despite it being a hard book to read (the incident with the maps was particularly brutal), it w ...more
I guess it's lucky that this was chosen for our latest group read then, because I fil ...more
In a series of letters to her estranged husband, narrator Eva dissects her family's life, from the decision to have a child to the day her son locked 9 classmates and a t ...more
There's no story. We know from the beginning that Kevin has shot a bunch of students dead, and then Eva goes on to tell random, often exaggerated stories from his childhood leading up to the shooting.
I think the relationship between mother and son (a son trying desperately to get a reaction from a mother who not only wa ...more
I’m so horrified that I feel sick, and I’m nearly crying, not because of Kevin but for Kevin, and I don’t know who to blame anymore, or what to feel, or what to think. I only know that this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read, and in all likelihood, will ever read.
How can I so deeply love a book that is this agonisingly ugly??
I knew before I started that reading this was going to be hard. We Need to Talk about Kevin is listed as one of th ...more
Doris Lessing addressed the topic also in her weedy novel The Fifth Child. It's a big taboo, and all that.
For my money though, bypass these poor excuses and go straight to nettyflix or ...more
I kind of sort of knew the gist of the book. It was a rubbernecker… something to do with a deviant child, national tragedy, bandwagon message but I was not expecting this. It is so well written, so proper in its delivery that it takes awhile to warm up to the protagonist as she writes these letters to her husband post trauma or as she calls i ...more
I bought it with high hopes. Boy was I wrong. I don’t even know where to begin.
Basically every character in this book is an intolerable asshole. You're supposed to sympathize with them, but it's impossible because they are all such horrible people. The whole escapade turns in to a frustratingly unsatisfying schaudenfraud.
Chapter after chapter contains nothing but the characters going OUT OF THEIR WAY to make you hate them. I hope this was intentional b ...more
It is now abundantly clear to me why this novel is such a popular selection for book clubs the world over -- it is a family saga that features a sordid tragedy, filled with abhorrent, compelling, wretched, titillating detail. It is a book meant to conquer and divide its readers, elicit strong emotion, a take-no-prisoners approach that leaves you anything but detached and unmoved. I can't imagine anyone coming to the end of this ordeal (for it is an ordeal) and not have some opinion, if not a ple ...more
I was also shocked to find out it is/was considered by some reviewers to be a "feminist" book. Um, what? I mean, okay, the female main character (I can't even bring myself to call her a protagonist) is ambival ...more
Or perhaps its the lonely ramblings of a woman who has nothing left except guilt, and its only guilt and anything that feeds it that sustains her. Like a drug addict she gets her fix from visiting her son, then the rush, the letters, free-flowing words, all the guilt tumbling almost joyously out, no details ...more
We Need To Talk About Kevin is from Lionel Shriver. I have never read one of her books before but this book was listed on the Staff Selection shelf at my local Chapters. (staff picks at my local Chapters haven't let me down yet) It grabbed me from the first page.
The story is told from a mother whose is trying to come to terms with the school massacre he ...more
Here's what I think: the fact ...more
Kevin's mother tells this story through some long tedious letters filled with big huge words. This goes on for about 250 pages. I was about to lose it myself, Kevin.
But as you get down deeper this book just takes on a life of its own. Understanding Kevin's mind, the clothes he wears, the details are portrayed perfectly in this evil character. It's like he's breathing over your shoulder ...watching you shiver.
Love, hate, betrayal all blend ...more
After reading some of the other reviews, I gave my own impressions of this book more thought. Perhaps I mistook the author's decent vocabulary for good writing skills? Maybe the characters weren't as fleshed out as I had thought; was Eva not only shallow but one-dimensional, as well? Was Kevin a cliche? Was the plo ...more
It is very hard to identify with the main character; but by doing this, by alienating the reader through unnecessarily complicated language and an ultimately unsympathetic narrator, the author ensures the reader does not automatically take her side in the debate. This makes you start to question her viewpoint rather than just accepting it, opening the book up to the moral debate that is at the heart ...more
Update: I just read on Gawker that mass killer Elliot Rodger once filled a Super Soaker with orange juice and sprayed a crowd of students. I wonder if he got the idea from this book?
(No, this really is not a book about "motherhood gone awry." It's a nice hook, though.)
Shriver writes in the afterword that her readers generally fall into two camps: those who see school-mass-killer Kevin as a "bad seed" from birth, unredeemable, and those who see Eva as the cold and distant mother who caused Kevin ...more
|Horror Aficionados : September 2014 Group Read: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver||181||277||Oct 28, 2014 03:53PM|
|Zalachenko: Yeah just read the damn book||15||7||Oct 11, 2014 09:33AM|
|Did Kevin respect his Mum after all?||32||718||Oct 05, 2014 11:31AM|
|Similar Books?||9||60||Aug 30, 2014 01:40PM|
|How does We Need to Talk About Kevin compare to Shriver's other novels?||13||189||Aug 20, 2014 09:08AM|
|The Movie||28||501||Jul 21, 2014 12:39PM|
|Sick or evil? Nature or nurture?||65||755||Jun 06, 2014 06:21PM|